Indonesia Shuts Down Plan for "Virginity Test" on High School Girls
An education official in Indonesia wants high school girls to be subject to a "virginity test" in an effort to discourage sexual activity and prostitution.
Muhammad Rasyid, head of the education office in South Sumatra's district of Prabumulih, wanted to start the testing on senior girls as soon as next year. Thankfully, education officials shutdown any plans for a virginity test on Tuesday.
News of the plan sparked outrage on social media and Education Minister Mohammad Nuh agreed with critics, saying that the tests would violate common principles. A female legislator, Nurul Arifin of the Golkar Party, went a step further, saying that the tests amounted to "discrimination and harassment against women."
Another official went on to bring up the point that a test would likely not be very accurate, given that other factors, (like playing sports) can alter the state of a woman's hymen, which would be the primary method to determine whether or not she was a virgin.
Rasyid acknowledged the fact that his "virginity test" would attract critics, but said that he believed it to be "an accurate way to protect children from prostitution and free sex."
The province's education chief Widodo said that he will encourage Rasyid to stop pursuing the implementation of the test. "There are many more important and useful things that need to be cared for rather than such a test. As students, they need to be nurtured more than be judged," he said.
This isn't the first time that a virginity test has been proposed in the world's most populous Muslim country. A similar proposal was made in another province within Sumatra in 2010, but it was also shutdown amid widespread criticism. But despite these two attempts to check up on the virginity status of young women, Indonesia is largely considered to be tolerant and secular society.
Reactions to the proposal sparked popped up all over Twitter, from those in Indonesia lamenting the state of their own country:
To those who feared what the impact of "failing" such a test could do to victims of sexual violence: